Last month saw the 14th annual MVNOs Europe take place at the Hilton Bankside in London.
I was delighted to join Jaime Pla, the founder of Spanish MVNO Suop Mobile, and Colleen LeCount, SVP Global Sales & Marketing at Mobolize, to moderate the discussion "Developing Game-Changing MVNO Strategies Focused on Customer Service and Customer Experience."
Outside of our panel, networking was still firmly on the agenda. Delegates in attendance included representatives of MVNOs, MNOs, vendors, and regulators. I was treated to conversations with executives from all corners of Europe about the challenges and opportunities within the MVNO sector.
Here are some highlights from on the conference stage, and off.
The Customer is Always Right
During a lively panel discussion, we touched on a number of key issues currently impacting customer service in the MVNO space.
“Customer experience is the only profitable way to compete as a mobile provider, especially a MVNO.”
This included how a low budget forces professionals to get creative in customer service strategy and how poor customer service can negatively affect a brand’s reputation. Colleen observed: “Customer experience is the only profitable way to compete as a mobile provider, especially a MVNO.”
Indeed, creating compelling and engaging digital experiences for subscribers maximizes what Colleen calls “customer lifetime value,” through differentiation, lower cost of service, and an overall increase in customer loyalty.
Elsewhere, Chris Tooley, CEO of MVNO giant Lycamobile Group, described the implementation of the European Commission’s (EC’s) Roam Like at Home mandate as an “omnishambles.”
He argued that while the proposition is great from a consumer perspective, “MVNOs are caught in the middle” and are struggling to recover wholesale costs.
MVNOs are caught in the middle and are struggling to recover wholesale costs.
During an intense “Evaluating the Results of a Capped Europe” panel, Tooley went further, sharing that Lycamobile is in the midst of “robust discussions with regulators in a number of countries” over its position, and observed that these new rules have forced the group to switch from innovation to “defensive mode.”
On a more upbeat note, in a separate conference session, Tooley shared news regarding the group’s expansion plans. India and Russia were both namechecked as markets in which Lycamobile expects to launch in 2018, alongside a number of sub-Saharan African nations.
“Our growth strategy is a survival strategy at the same time.”
Said Tooley, “Our growth strategy is a survival strategy at the same time.”
Going forward, the group expects to launch in 20 new markets in the next four years and account for a total of 50 million subscribers by 2020.
Tom Leins is a lead Analyst for TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database. He also contributes to the company’s daily CommsUpdate newsletter, which includes his popular weekly 'MVNO Monday' round-up. Tom has developed a strong specialisation in the US, as well as Latin America and other developing markets, tracking regulatory developments, market opportunities, growth trends and market forecasts.